Monday, June 17, 2013

Is the era of mega-spectacles drawing to a close?

They are rioting in Brazil.

On the face of it this is about a hike in transit fares. Read a little deeper and it's about mass disaffection with the price Brazilians are paying to host two of the grandest spectacles of the modern era, the World Cup and the Olympic Games.

If you want to bring one of these extravaganzas to your city, here's how to go about it.

Step one, form an organizing committee. Gather a group of local worthies from the business community and the media. Having a few high-profile names from the world of sports is a must.

Next, saturate the media with the exciting news of your proposal. Make sure that the public understands that hosting an Olympics or a World Cup will make your town a WORLD CLASS CITY and put it on the map forever. Anytime a question comes up about the cost, assure the questioner that there will be absolutely no cost to the taxpayer.

Then, start lobbying the politicians at every level of government. When I say "lobbying" I mean big-time old-school lobbying; trips to Vegas, dancing girls, etc. Remember, the windfall/bonanza that is the Games won't happen without a bit of seed money from the taxpayers, just to prime the pump as it were.

You can make a decent pitch to the Olympic Committee with as little as 20 or 30 million dollars, but remember, winning bidders usually spend more. Make sure your politicians understand this.

If at first you don't succeed, try again! Rome wasn't built in a day, after all... Toronto has been lobbying for the Olympics since the days of ancient Greece and still haven't lucked out, but they know they can't give up.

When you eventually land the games, get ready to turn on the taps. There's a gusher of money about to sweep your organizing committee to fame and fortune - taxpayer money.

Yes, the taxpayers may have primed the pump with half a dozen bids for the games, but now that you've got them, you need INFRASTRUCTURE.

Oh baby, is there ever money in infrastructure! This is where the gravy hits the cheese curds... round up every engineering consultant, architect, cement contractor and steel fabricator in the land who ever made a political donation... there's going to be plenty of gravy to go around!

This is where the media connections of your organizing committee will earn their keep. As the cost of your infrastructure balloons to two, three... ten times your estimates you'll need plenty of "experts" in front of the public explaining about spin-off effects etc.

Finally the big day arrives. The beautiful people of the world will congregate in your town for two weeks. The eyes of the world will be upon you.

Bask in the glory! Drink it in!

Then, as the last notes of the closing ceremony waft into the night air, get the hell out of town. The locals may get a little hostile when they realize they'll be paying for that infrastructure for the next hundred years.

It's a tried and proven methodology. Let's hope a few malcontents in Brazil don't ruin it for everybody.

No comments:

Post a Comment